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Bryan Chai, The Western Journal


NextImg:Michigan Scout Suspended After NCAA Opens Cheating Investigation

A reported Marine Corps veteran has been swept up in a cheating scandal that has rocked college football.

The University of Michigan Wolverines, the No. 2 football team in the country heading into Saturday’s slate of games, is currently under investigation after allegations arose that the team was illegally scouting opponents.

Those allegations and the subsequent investigation have led to the suspension of Michigan football analyst Connor Stalions.

The school’s athletic director, Warde Manuel, made the announcement on Friday.

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“Michigan Athletics suspended Connor Stalions today, with pay, pending the conclusion of the NCAA investigation,” the statement from Manuel read.

According to ESPN, which also reported Stalions’ Marine Corps service, his since-deleted LinkedIn bio denoted the following:

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An earlier ESPN report described Stalions as a “low-level staffer with a military background” but also as one of the emerging “linchpins” in the scandal that has slammed the Wolverines football program.

That report noted that the NCAA’s interest in Stalions is strong enough that it sought to access his computer as part of its investigation.

Michigan’s football program currently stands accused of stealing signals from future and potential future playoff opponents.

Technically, stealing signals is not illegal and is actually fairly commonplace in college football.

What Michigan stands accused of violating, however, is scouting opponents in-person.

In-person scouting and using electronic equipment to convey stolen signals are both illegal, though Michigan only appears to be accused of the former. Per ESPN, the NCAA outlawed in-person scouting in 1994.

An unnamed source told ESPN that Michigan’s alleged cheating plot was “elaborate” and dated back to 2021.

All parties involved do seem to be cooperating with the NCAA.

The Big Ten conference, which Michigan is a part of, put out a statement: “Late Wednesday afternoon, the Big Ten Conference and University of Michigan were notified by the NCAA that the NCAA was investigating allegations of sign stealing by the University of Michigan football program. The Big Ten Conference has notified Michigan State University and future opponents. The Big Ten Conference considers the integrity of competition to be of utmost importance and will continue to monitor the investigation. The Conference will have no further comment at this time.”

Michigan head coach Jim Harbaugh also put out a statement, per Sports Illustrated, denying any wrongdoing.

“I want to make it clear that I, and my staff, will fully cooperate with the investigation into this matter,” Harbaugh said. “I do not have any knowledge or information regarding the University of Michigan football program illegally stealing signals, nor have I directed any staff member or others to participate in an off-campus scouting assignment.

“I have no awareness of anyone on our staff having done that or having directed that action.

“I do not condone or tolerate anyone doing anything illegal or against NCAA rules. No matter what program or organization that I have led throughout my career, my instructions and awareness of how we scout opponents have always been firmly within the rules.

“Pursuant to NCAA rules, I will not be able to comment further while this investigation takes place.”

For their part, both the coach and players appear relatively unbothered, as the team invited celebrity “mentalist” Oz Pearlman to entertain the team:

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Michigan travels to face its cross-state rival Michigan State Spartans on Saturday and look to move to a sterling 8-0.

This article appeared originally on The Western Journal.